[ir-i-pres-uh-buh l]


incapable of being repressed or restrained; uncontrollable: irrepressible laughter.

Origin of irrepressible

First recorded in 1805–15; ir-2 + repressible
Related formsir·re·press·i·bil·i·ty, ir·re·press·i·ble·ness, nounir·re·press·i·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irrepressibly

Contemporary Examples of irrepressibly

Historical Examples of irrepressibly

  • At the end of this I came back, irrepressibly, to Mark Ambient.

  • This note of the highhole is irrepressibly exuberant and ringing with energy.

    In the Open

    Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • In her gaze was a mingled severity and softness and she smiled as if irrepressibly.


    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • "But you are not so familiar with the road," murmured Isabel, irrepressibly.


    Gertrude Atherton

  • "And he tried to tell me who it was," broke in Moore, irrepressibly.

    In the Onyx Lobby

    Carolyn Wells

British Dictionary definitions for irrepressibly



not capable of being repressed, controlled, or restrained
Derived Formsirrepressibility or irrepressibleness, nounirrepressibly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for irrepressibly



1767, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + repressible (see repress).

Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.

Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefor ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. [William H. Seward, speech at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 2, 1858]

Related: Irrepressibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper